Productive Data Meetings for Schools

Nov 25, 2016 by

With a bit of preparation, beginning with the outcomes in mind, and following protocols; data meetings will prove to be effective in analyzing student results that lead to data-informed instructional decisions.

Organizing a School Wide Data Initiative

Educators never seem to have enough time to thoroughly plan and implement the variety of tasks required within this profession. It is important to work smarter, not harder in order to streamline the endless list of tasks required of teachers and principals. Preparing for data meetings will result in efficient and productive data collaboration. It is critical to provide professional development opportunities that clearly define what a data meeting is and what the desired outcomes of the meetings will be prior to participating in a data conference. This is a prime example of the “go slow to go fast” theory. To properly prepare for such meetings, a building administrator must plan the additional time for this learning to occur before teachers can attempt to participate in a data meeting. There are key components of a data conference that need to be presented in the professional development that include the overall purposes or desired outcomes from such meetings, defined meeting protocols that will need to be followed and the pre-identified roles of the members of the meeting.

Best practices of school principals that infused Data Driven Meetings and Professional Development included these steps:

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Provide Structure to support Data Driven Meetings
  3. Creating a climate of trust and collaboration and a culture of data use

To guide school planning for professional development with teachers see this article.

Begin with a Clear Outcome

Educators must begin a data conference with a very clear purpose or end result in mind. The conversations focused around the student work should align with a pre-identified outcome. These outcomes may vary from meeting to meeting. For example, depending on the time of year a data meeting may occur for the purpose of determining student intervention. Data may be reviewed and analyzed to identify students that will need Tier II instruction. Another outcome of data meetings may hone in on specific content that students are struggling with in order to design future instruction. Whatever the reason, it is an absolute necessity that the outcomes are predetermined, clearly communicated to the data team and utilized to guide the overall meeting. To read about specific areas influenced by data driven instruction see this article on data driven instruction.

Meeting Protocols

A meeting protocol will facilitate all steps of the process from beginning a data meeting with the proper guiding questions to finalizing instructional action steps that will occur based on meeting outcomes. Protocols serve as a professional compact that educators can rely on to assist in maintaining focus and progression in the process of analyzing, collaborating and decision making. Considering various purposes of data meetings, there are many protocols available. It is the responsibility of the principal or data leader to research and select a protocol that best meets the needs for the specific meeting(s). Overall, protocols generally include role identification of team members, guiding questions, outlines with optimal time allowances, outcomes, and possible timelines or schedules in which tasks will be completed. Click on this link to view a sample of a protocol that goes from brainstorming to discussing the chief challenges ahead.

How have data meetings improved educational practices in your district? Please share in the comments below.

Keywords: Data, Professional Development, Protocols, Assessment, Instruction, Data Driven Decisions, and Collaboration


Bambrick-Santoyo, P. (2015).  Driven By Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction. New York: Wiley and Sons. Retrieved from:

Davis, V. (April 15, 2015).  8 Top Tips for Highly Effective PD. Edutopia Online Magazine. Retrieved From:

Fenton, B. & Murphy, M. (2016). Data Driven Instruction. ASCD. Retrieved from:

Wayman, J., Spring, S. Lemke, M. & Lehr, M. (2012). Using Data to Inform Practice: Effective Principal Leadership Strategies. Retrieved from:


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  1. November 2016 Publications – Wafa Hozien - […] Hozien, W. (November 25, 2016).  Productive Data Meetings for Schools. Education News. Retrieved from: […]

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